Microcosmography - or, a Piece of the World Discovered; in Essays and Characters
by John Earle
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Is a far finer man than he knows of, one that shews better to all men than himself, and so much the better to all men, as less to himself;[78] for no quality sets a man off like this, and commends him more against his will: and he can put up any injury sooner than this (as he calls it) your irony. You shall hear him confute his commenders, and giving reasons how much they are mistaken, and is angry almost if they do not believe him. Nothing threatens him so much as great expectation, which he thinks more prejudicial than your under-opinion, because it is easier to make that false, than this true. He is one that sneaks from a good action, as one that had pilfered, and dare not justify it; and is more blushingly reprehended in this, than others in sin: that counts all publick declarings of himself, but so many penances before the people; and the more you applaud him, the more you abash him, and he recovers not his face a month after. One that is easy to like any thing of another man's, and thinks all he knows not of him better than that he knows. He excuses that to you, which another would impute; and if you pardon him, is satisfied. One that stands in no opinion because it is his own, but suspects it rather, because it is his own, and is confuted and thanks you. He sees nothing more willingly than his errors, and it is his error sometimes to be too soon persuaded. He is content to be auditor, where he only can speak, and content to go away, and think himself instructed. No man is so weak that he is ashamed to learn of, and is less ashamed to confess it; and he finds many times even in the dust, what others overlook and lose. Every man's presence is a kind of bridle to him, to stop the roving of his tongue and passions: and even impudent men look for this reverence from him, and distaste that in him, which they suffer in themselves, as one in whom vice is ill-favoured, and shews more scurvily than another. A bawdy jest shall shame him more than a bastard another man, and he that got it shall censure him among the rest. And he is coward to nothing more than an ill tongue, and whosoever dare lye on him hath power over him; and if you take him by his look, he is guilty. The main ambition of his life is not to be discredited; and for other things, his desires are more limited than his fortunes, which he thinks preferment, though never so mean, and that he is to do something to deserve this. He is too tender to venture on great places, and would not hurt a dignity to help himself: If he do, it was the violence of his friends constrained him, how hardly soever he obtain it, he was harder persuaded to seek it.


[78] This, as well as many other passages in this work, has been appropriated by John Dunton, the celebrated bookseller, as his own. See his character of Mr. Samuel Hool, in Dunton's Life and Errors, 8vo. 1705. p. 337.



Is like one that spends on the stock without any revenues coming in, and will shortly be no wit at all; for learning is the fuel to the fire of wit, which, if it wants this feeding, eats out it self. A good conceit or two bates of such a man, and makes a sensible weakening in him; and his brain recovers it not a year after. The rest of him are bubbles and flashes, darted out on a sudden, which, if you take them while they are warm, may be laughed at; if they are cool, are nothing. He speaks best on the present apprehension, for meditation stupifies him, and the more he is in travel, the less he brings forth. His things come off then, as in a nauseateing stomach, where there is nothing to cast up, strains and convulsions, and some astonishing bombasts, which men only, till they understand, are scared with. A verse or some such work he may sometimes get up to, but seldom above the stature of an epigram, and that with some relief out of Martial, which is the ordinary companion of his pocket, and he reads him as he were inspired. Such men are commonly the trifling things of the world, good to make merry the company, and whom only men have to do withal when they have nothing to do, and none are less their friends than who are most their company. Here they vent themselves over a cup some-what more lastingly; all their words go for jests, and all their jests for nothing. They are nimble in the fancy of some ridiculous thing, and reasonable good in the expression. Nothing stops a jest when it's coming, neither friends, nor danger, but it must out howsoever, though their blood come out after, and then they emphatically rail, and are emphatically beaten, and commonly are men reasonable familiar to this. Briefly they are such whose life is but to laugh and be laughed at; and only wits in jest and fools in earnest.



Is one that will be a man to-morrow morning, but is now what you will make him, for he is in the power of the next man, and if a friend the better. One that hath let go himself from the hold and stay of reason, and lies open to the mercy of all temptations. No lust but finds him disarmed and fenceless, and with the least assault enters. If any mischief escape him, it was not his fault, for he was laid as fair for it as he could. Every man sees him, as Cham saw his father the first of this sin, an uncovered man, and though his garment be on, uncovered; the secretest parts of his soul lying in the nakedest manner visible: all his passions come out now, all his vanities, and those shamefuller humours which discretion clothes. His body becomes at last like a miry way, where the spirits are beclogged and cannot pass: all his members are out of office, and his heels do but trip up one another. He is a blind man with eyes, and a cripple with legs on. All the use he has of this vessel himself, is to hold thus much; for his drinking is but a scooping in of so many quarts, which are filled out into his body, and that filled out again into the room, which is commonly as drunk as he. Tobacco serves to air him after a washing, and is his only breath and breathing while. He is the greatest enemy to himself, and the next to his friend, and then most in the act of his kindness, for his kindness is but trying a mastery, who shall sink down first: and men come from him as a battle, wounded and bound up. Nothing takes a man off more from his credit, and business, and makes him more retchlesly[79] careless what becomes of all. Indeed he dares not enter on a serious thought, or if he do, it is such melancholy that it sends him to be drunk again.


[79] Rechlesse, negligent. Saxon, rectlerre. Chaucer uses it also as an adjective:

"I may not in this cas be reccheles."

Clerkes Tale, v. 8364.



Is the grave of the living,[80] where they are shut up from the world and their friends; and the worms that gnaw upon them their own thoughts and the jaylor. A house of meagre looks and ill smells, for lice, drink, and tobacco are the compound. Pluto's court was expressed from this fancy; and the persons are much about the same parity that is there. You may ask, as Menippus in Lucian, which is Nireus, which Thersites, which the beggar, which the knight;—for they are all suited in the same form of a kind of nasty poverty. Only to be out at elbows is in fashion here, and a great indecorum not to be thread-bare. Every man shews here like so many wracks upon the sea, here the ribs of a thousand pound, here the relicks of so many mannors, a doublet without buttons; and 'tis a spectacle of more pity than executions are. The company one with the other is but a vying of complaints, and the causes they have to rail on fortune and fool themselves, and there is a great deal of good fellowship in this. They are commonly, next their creditors, most bitter against the lawyers, as men that have had a great stroke in assisting them hither. Mirth here is stupidity or hard-heartedness, yet they feign it sometimes to slip melancholy, and keep off themselves from themselves, and the torment of thinking what they have been. Men huddle up their life here as a thing of no use, and wear it out like an old suit, the faster the better; and he that deceives the time best, best spends it. It is the place where new comers are most welcomed, and, next them, ill news, as that which extends their fellowship in misery, and leaves few to insult:—and they breath their discontents more securely here, and have their tongues at more liberty than abroad. Men see here much sin and much calamity; and where the last does not mortify, the other hardens; as those that are worse here, are desperately worse, and those from whom the horror of sin is taken off and the punishment familiar: and commonly a hard thought passes on all that come from this school; which though it teach much wisdom, it is too late, and with danger: and it is better be a fool than come here to learn it.


[80] "A prison is a graue to bury men aliue, and a place wherein a man for halfe a yeares experience may learne more law then he can at Westminster for an hundred pound." Mynshul's Essays and Characters of a Prison. 4to. 1618.



Is one of the makings up of a gentleman as well as his clothes, and somewhat in the same nature, for he is cast behind his master as fashionably as his sword and cloak are, and he is but in querpo[81] without him. His properness[82] qualifies him, and of that a good leg; for his head he has little use but to keep it bare. A good dull wit best suits with him to comprehend common sense and a trencher; for any greater store of brain it makes him but tumultuous, and seldom thrives with him. He follows his master's steps, as well in conditions as the street; if he wench or drink, he comes him in an under kind, and thinks it a part of his duty to be like him. He is indeed wholly his master's; of his faction,—of his cut,—of his pleasures:—he is handsome for his credit, and drunk for his credit, and if he have power in the cellar, commands the parish. He is one that keeps the best company, and is none of it; for he knows all the gentlemen his master knows, and picks from thence some hawking and horse-race terms,[83] which he swaggers with in the ale-house, where he is only called master. His mirth is bawdy jests with the wenches, and, behind the door, bawdy earnest. The best work he does is his marrying, for it makes an honest woman, and if he follows in it his master's direction, it is commonly the best service he does him.


[81] In querpo is a corruption from the Spanish word cuerpo. "En cuerpo, a man without a cloak." Pineda's Dictionary, 1740. The present signification evidently is, that a gentleman without his serving-man, or attendant, is but half dressed:—he possesses only in part the appearance of a man of fashion. "To walk in cuerpo, is to go without a cloak." Glossographia Anglicana Nova, 8vo. 1719.

[82] Proper was frequently used by old writers for comely, or handsome. Shakspeare has several instances of it:

"I do mistake my person all this while: Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot, Myself to be a marvellous proper man."

K. Richard III. Act I. Sc. 2. &c.

[83] "Why you know an'a man have not skill in the hawking and hunting languages now-a-days, I'll not give a rush for him." Master Stephen. Every Man in his Humour.



Is a fellow newly great and newly proud; one that hath put himself into another face upon his preferment, for his own was not bred to it. One whom fortune hath shot up to some office or authority, and he shoots up his neck to his fortune, and will not bate you an inch of either. His very countenance and gesture bespeak how much he is, and if you understand him not, he tells you, and concludes every period with his place, which you must and shall know. He is one that looks on all men as if he were angry, but especially on those of his acquaintance, whom he beats off with a surlier distance, as men apt to mistake him, because they have known him; and for this cause he knows not you 'till you have told him your name, which he thinks he has heard, but forgot, and with much ado seems to recover. If you have any thing to use him in, you are his vassal for that time, and must give him the patience of any injury, which he does only to shew what he may do. He snaps you up bitterly, because he will be offended, and tells you, you are sawcy and troublesome, and sometimes takes your money in this language. His very courtesies are intolerable, they are done with such an arrogance and imputation; and he is the only man you may hate after a good turn, and not be ungrateful; and men reckon it among their calamities to be beholden unto him. No vice draws with it a more general hostility, and makes men readier to search into his faults, and of them, his beginning; and no tale so unlikely but is willingly heard of him and believed. And commonly such men are of no merit at all, but make out in pride what they want in worth, and fence themselves with a stately kind of behaviour from that contempt which would pursue them. They are men whose preferment does us a great deal of wrong, and when they are down, we may laugh at them without breach of good-nature.



Is the first draught of a friend, whom we must lay down oft thus, as the foul copy, before we can write him perfect and true: for from hence, as from a probation, men take a degree in our respect, till at last they wholly possess us: for acquaintance is the hoard, and friendship the pair chosen out of it; by which at last we begin to impropriate and inclose to ourselves what before lay in common with others. And commonly where it grows not up to this, it falls as low as may be; and no poorer relation than old acquaintance, of whom we only ask how they do for fashion's sake, and care not. The ordinary use of acquaintance is but somewhat a more boldness of society, a sharing of talk, news, drink, mirth together; but sorrow is the right of a friend, as a thing nearer our heart, and to be delivered with it. Nothing easier than to create acquaintance, the mere being in company once does it; whereas friendship, like children, is ingendered by a more inward mixture, and coupling together; when we are acquainted not with their virtues only, but their faults, their passions, their fears, their shame,—and are bold on both sides to make their discovery. And as it is in the love of the body, which is then at the height and full when it has power and admittance into the hidden and worst parts of it; so it is in friendship with the mind, when those verenda of the soul, and those things which we dare not shew the world, are bare and detected one to another. Some men are familiar with all, and those commonly friends to none; for friendship is a sullener thing, is a contractor and taker up of our affections to some few, and suffers them not loosely to be scattered on all men. The poorest tie of acquaintance is that of place and country, which are shifted as the place, and missed but while the fancy of that continues. These are only then gladdest of other, when they meet in some foreign region, where the encompassing of strangers unites them closer, till at last they get new, and throw off one another. Men of parts and eminency, as their acquaintance is more sought for, so they are generally more staunch of it, not out of pride only, but fear to let too many in too near them: for it is with men as with pictures, the best show better afar off and at distance, and the closer you come to them the coarser they are. The best judgment of a man is taken from his acquaintance, for friends and enemies are both partial; whereas these see him truest because calmest, and are no way so engaged to lie for him. And men that grow strange after acquaintance, seldom piece together again, as those that have tasted meat and dislike it, out of a mutual experience disrelishing one another.



Is one to be held off still at the same distance you are now; for you shall have him but thus, and if you enter on him farther you lose him. Methinks Virgil well expresses him in those well-behaved ghosts that AEneas met with, that were friends to talk with, and men to look on, but if he grasped them, but air.[84] He is one that lies kindly to you, and for good fashion's sake, and tis discourtesy in you to believe him. His words are so many fine phrases set together, which serve equally for all men, and are equally to no purpose. Each fresh encounter with a man puts him to the same part again, and he goes over to you what he said to him was last with him: he kisses your hands as he kissed his before, and is your servant to be commanded, but you shall intreat of him nothing. His proffers are universal and general, with exceptions against all particulars. He will do any thing for you, but if you urge him to this, he cannot, or to that, he is engaged; but he will do any thing. Promises he accounts but a kind of mannerly words, and in the expectation of your manners not to exact them: if you do, he wonders at your ill breeding, that cannot distinguish betwixt what is spoken and what is meant. No man gives better satisfaction at the first, and comes off more with the elogy of a kind gentleman, till you know him better, and then you know him for nothing. And commonly those most rail at him, that have before most commended him. The best is, he cozens you in a fair manner, and abuses you with great respect.



Ter conatus ibi collo dare brachia circum: Ter frustra comprensa manus effugit imago, Par leuibus ventis, volucrique simillima somno.

Virgil AEn. vi. v. 700. edit. Heyne, 1787.



Is a man and a fiddle out of case, and he in worse case than his fiddle. One that rubs two sticks together (as the Indians strike fire), and rubs a poor living out of it; partly from this, and partly from your charity, which is more in the hearing than giving him, for he sells nothing dearer than to be gone. He is just so many strings above a beggar, though he have but two; and yet he begs too, only not in the downright 'for God's sake,' but with a shrugging 'God bless you,' and his face is more pined than the blind man's. Hunger is the greatest pain he takes, except a broken head sometimes, and the labouring John Dory.[85] Otherwise his life is so many fits of mirth, and tis some mirth to see him. A good feast shall draw him five miles by the nose, and you shall track him again by the scent. His other pilgrimages are fairs and good houses, where his devotion is great to the Christmas; and no man loves good times better. He is in league with the tapsters for the worshipful of the inn, whom, he torments next morning with his art, and has their names more perfect than their men. A new song is better to him than a new jacket, especially if bawdy, which he calls merry; and hates naturally the puritan, as an enemy to this mirth. A country wedding and Whitson-ale are the two main places he domineers in, where he goes for a musician, and overlooks the bag-pipe. The rest of him is drunk, and in the stocks.


[85] Probably the name of some difficult tune.



Is one that has nothing to do with his business, and yet no man busier than he, and his business is most in his face. He is one thrusts himself violently into all employments, unsent for, unfeed, and many times unthanked; and his part in it is only an eager bustling, that rather keeps ado than does any thing. He will take you aside, and question you of your affair, and listen with both ears, and look earnestly, and then it is nothing so much yours as his. He snatches what you are doing out of your hands, and cries "give it me," and does it worse, and lays an engagement upon you too, and you must thank him for his pains. He lays you down an hundred wild plots, all impossible things, which you must be ruled by perforce, and he delivers them with a serious and counselling forehead; and there is a great deal more wisdom in this forehead than his head. He will woo for you, solicit for you, and woo you to suffer him; and scarce any thing done, wherein his letter, or his journey, or at least himself is not seen; if he have no task in it else, he will rail yet on some side, and is often beaten when he need not. Such men never thoroughly weigh any business, but are forward only to shew their zeal, when many times this forwardness spoils it, and then they cry they have done what they can, that is, as much hurt. Wise men still deprecate these men's kindnesses, and are beholden to them rather to let them alone; as being one trouble more in all business, and which a man shall be hardest rid of.



Is the best antiquity, and which we may with least vanity admire. One whom time hath been thus long a working, and like winter fruit, ripened when others are shaken down. He hath taken out as many lessons of the world as days, and learnt the best thing in it; the vanity of it. He looks over his former life as a danger well past, and would not hazard himself to begin again. His lust was long broken before his body, yet he is glad this temptation is broke too, and that he is fortified from it by this weakness. The next door of death sads him not, but he expects it calmly as his turn in nature; and fears more his recoiling back to childishness than dust. All men look on him as a common father, and on old age, for his sake, as a reverent thing. His very presence and face puts vice out of countenance, and makes it an indecorum in a vicious man. He practises his experience on youth without the harshness of reproof, and in his counsel his good company. He has some old stories still of his own seeing to confirm what he says, and makes them better in the telling; yet is not troublesome neither with the same tale again, but remembers with them how oft he has told them. His old sayings and morals seem proper to his beard; and the poetry of Cato does well out of his mouth, and he speaks it as if he were the author. He is not apt to put the boy on a younger man, nor the fool on a boy, but can distinguish gravity from a sour look; and the less testy he is, the more regarded. You must pardon him if he like his own times better than these, because those things are follies to him now that were wisdom then; yet he makes us of that opinion too when we see him, and conjecture those times by so good a relick. He is a man capable of a dearness with the youngest men, yet he not youthfuller for them, but they older for him; and no man credits more his acquaintance. He goes away at last too soon whensoever, with all men's sorrow but his own; and his memory is fresh, when it is twice as old.



Is the picture of a friend, and as pictures flatter many times, so he oft shews fairer than the true substance: his look, conversation, company, and all the outwardness of friendship more pleasing by odds, for a true friend dare take the liberty to be sometimes offensive, whereas he is a great deal more cowardly, and will not let the least hold go, for fear of losing you. Your meer sour look affrights him, and makes him doubt his casheering. And this is one sure mark of him, that he is never first angry, but ready though upon his own wrong to make satisfaction. Therefore he is never yoked with a poor man, or any that stands on the lower ground, but whose fortunes may tempt his pains to deceive him. Him he learns first, and learns well, and grows perfecter in his humours than himself, and by this door enters upon his soul, of which he is able at last to take the very print and mark, and fashion his own by it, like a false key to open all your secrets. All his affections jump[86] even with your's; he is before-hand with your thoughts, and able to suggest them unto you. He will commend to you first what he knows you like, and has always some absurd story or other of your enemy, and then wonders how your two opinions should jump in that man. He will ask your counsel sometimes as a man of deep judgment, and has a secret of purpose to disclose to you, and whatsoever you say, is persuaded. He listens to your words with great attention, and sometimes will object that you may confute him, and then protests he never heard so much before. A piece of wit bursts him with an overflowing laughter, and he remembers it for you to all companies, and laughs again in the telling. He is one never chides you but for your vertues, as, you are too good, too honest, too religious, when his chiding may seem but the earnester commendation, and yet would fain chide you out of them too; for your vice is the thing he has use of, and wherein you may best use him; and he is never more active than in the worst diligences. Thus, at last, he possesses you from yourself, and then expects but his hire to betray you: and it is a happiness not to discover him; for as long as you are happy, you shall not.


[86] Jump here signifies to coincide. The old play of Soliman and Perseda, 4to. without date, uses it in the same sense:

"Wert thou my friend, thy mind would jump with mine." So in Pierce Penilesse his Supplication to the Divele:—"Not two of them jump in one tale." p. 29.



Is one that looks like a proud man, but is not: you may forgive him his looks for his worth's sake, for they are only too proud to be base. One whom no rate can buy off from the least piece of his freedom, and make him digest an unworthy thought an hour. He cannot crouch to a great man to possess him, nor fall low to the earth to rebound never so high again. He stands taller on his own bottom, than others on the advantage ground of fortune, as having solidly that honour, of which title is but the pomp. He does homage to no man for his great stile's sake, but is strictly just in the exaction of respect again, and will not bate you a complement. He is more sensible of a neglect than an undoing, and scorns no man so much as his surly threatener. A man quickly fired, and quickly laid down with satisfaction, but remits any injury sooner than words: only to himself he is irreconcileable, whom he never forgives a disgrace, but is still stabbing himself with the thought of it, and no disease that he dies of sooner. He is one had rather perish than be beholden for his life, and strives more to be quit with his friend than his enemy. Fortune may kill him but not deject him, nor make him fall into an humbler key than before, but he is now loftier than ever in his own defence; you shall hear him talk still after thousands, and he becomes it better than those that have it. One that is above the world and its drudgery, and cannot pull down his thoughts to the pelting businesses of life. He would sooner accept the gallows than a mean trade, or any thing that might disparage the height of man in him, and yet thinks no death comparably base to hanging neither. One that will do nothing upon command, though he would do it otherwise; and if ever he do evil, it is when he is dared to it. He is one that if fortune equal his worth puts a luster in all preferment; but if otherwise he be too much crossed, turns desperately melancholy, and scorns mankind.



Is one much about the same model and pitch of brain that the clown is, only of somewhat a more polite and finical ignorance, and as sillily scorns him as he is sillily admired by him. The quality of the city hath afforded him some better dress of clothes and language, which he uses to the best advantage, and is so much the more ridiculous. His chief education is the visits of his shop, where if courtiers and fine ladies resort, he is infected with so much more eloquence, and if he catch one word extraordinary, wears it for ever. You shall hear him mince a complement sometimes that was never made for him; and no man pays dearer for good words,—for he is oft paid with them. He is suited rather fine than in the fashion, and has still something to distinguish him from a gentleman, though his doublet cost more; especially on Sundays, bridegroom-like, where he carries the state of a very solemn man, and keeps his pew as his shop; and it is a great part of his devotion to feast the minister. But his chiefest guest is a customer, which is the greatest relation he acknowledges, especially if you be an honest gentleman, that is trust him to cozen you enough. His friendships are a kind of gossipping friendships, and those commonly within the circle of his trade, wherein he is careful principally to avoid two things, that is poor men and suretiships. He is a man will spend his six-pence with a great deal of imputation,[87] and no man makes more of a pint of wine than he. He is one bears a pretty kind of foolish love to scholars, and to Cambridge especially for Sturbridge[88] fair's sake; and of these all are truants to him that are not preachers, and of these the loudest the best; and he is much ravished with the noise of a rolling tongue. He loves to hear discourses out of his element, and the less he understands the better pleased, which he expresses in a smile and some fond protestation. One that does nothing without his chuck[89], that is his wife, with whom he is billing still in conspiracy, and the wantoner she is, the more power she has over him; and she never stoops so low after him, but is the only woman goes better of a widow than a maid. In the education of his child no man fearfuller, and the danger he fears is a harsh school-master, to whom he is alledging still the weakness of the boy, and pays a fine extraordinary for his mercy. The first whipping rids him to the university, and from thence rids him again for fear of starving, and the best he makes of him is some gull in plush. He is one loves to hear the famous acts of citizens, whereof the gilding of the cross[90] he counts the glory of this age, and the four[91] prentices of London above all the nine[92] worthies. He intitles himself to all the merits of his company, whether schools, hospitals, or exhibitions, in which he is joint benefactor, though four hundred years ago, and upbraids them far more than those that gave them: yet with all this folly he has wit enough to get wealth, and in that a sufficienter man than he that is wiser.


[87] Imputation here must be used for consequence; of which I am, however, unable to produce any other instance.

[88] Sturbridge fair was the great mart for business, and resort for pleasure, in bishop Earle's day. It is alluded to in Randolph's Conceited Pedlar, 4to. 1630.

"I am a pedlar, and I sell my ware This braue Saint Barthol. or Sturbridge faire."

Edward Ward, the facetious author of The London Spy, gives a whimsical account of a journey to Sturbridge, in the second volume of his works.

[89] This silly term of endearment appears to be derived from chick, or my chicken. Shakspeare uses it in Macbeth, Act iii. Scene 2.

"Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck."

[90] The great cross in West Cheap, was originally erected in 1290, by Edward I. in commemoration of the death of queen Ellinor, whose body rested at that place, on its journey from Herdeby, in Lincolnshire, to Westminster, for interment. It was rebuilt in 1441, and again in 1484. In 1581, the images and ornaments were destroyed by the populace; and in 1599, the top of the cross was taken down, the timber being rotted within the lead, and fears being entertained as to its safety. By order of queen Elizabeth, and her privy council, it was repaired in 1600, when, says Stow, "a cross of timber was framed, set up, covered with lead, and gilded," &c. Stow's Survey of London, by Strype, book iii. p. 35. Edit, folio, Lond. 1720.

[91] This must allude to the play written by Heywood with the following title: The Foure Prentises of London. With the Conquest of Ierusalem. As it hath bene diuerse times acted at the Red Bull, by the Queene's Maiesties Seruants. 4to. Lond. 1615. In this drama, the four prentises are Godfrey, Grey, Charles, and Eustace, sons to the old Earle of Bullen, who, having lost his territories, by assisting William the Conqueror in his descent upon England, is compelled to live like a private citizen in London, and binds his sons to a mercer, a goldsmith, a haberdasher, and a grocer. The four prentises, however, prefer the life of a soldier to that of a tradesman, and, quitting the service of their masters, follow Robert of Normandy to the holy land, where they perform the most astonishing feats of valour, and finally accomplish the conquest of Ierusalem. The whole play abounds in bombast and impossibilities, and, as a composition, is unworthy of notice or remembrance.

[92] The History of the Nine Worthies of the World; three whereof were Gentiles: 1. Hector, son of Priamus, king of Troy. 2. Alexander the Great, king of Macedon, and conqueror of the world. 3. Julius Caesar, first emperor of Rome. Three Jews. 4. Joshua, captain general and leader of Israel into Canaan. 5. David, king of Israel. 6. Judas Maccabeus, a valiant Jewish commander against the tyranny of Antiochus. Three Christians. 7. Arthur, king of Britain, who courageously defended his country against the Saxons. 8. Charles the Great, king of France and emperor of Germany. 9. Godfrey of Bullen, king of Jerusalem. Being an account of their glorious lives, worthy actions, renowned victories, and deaths. 12mo. No date.



Is the servant he says of many mistresses, but all are but his lust, to which only he is faithful, and none besides, and spends his best blood and spirits in the service. His soul is the bawd to his body, and those that assist him in this nature the nearest to it. No man abuses more the name of love, or those whom he applies this name to; for his love is like his stomach to feed on what he loves, and the end of it to surfeit and loath, till a fresh appetite rekindle him; and it kindles on any sooner than who deserve best of him. There is a great deal of malignity in this vice, for it loves still to spoil the best things, and a virgin sometimes rather than beauty, because the undoing here is greater, and consequently his glory. No man laughs more at his sin than he, or is so extremely tickled with the remembrance of it; and he is more violence to a modest ear than to her he defloured. A bawdy jest enters deep into him, and whatsoever you speak he will draw to baudry, and his wit is never so good as here. His unchastest part is his tongue, for that commits always what he must act seldomer; and that commits with all which he acts with few; for he is his own worst reporter, and men believe as bad of him, and yet do not believe him. Nothing harder to his persuasion than a chaste man, no eunuch; and makes a scoffing miracle at it, if you tell him of a maid. And from this mistrust it is that such men fear marriage, or at least marry such as are of bodies to be trusted, to whom only they sell that lust which they buy of others, and make their wife a revenue to their mistress. They are men not easily reformed, because they are so little ill-persuaded of their illness, and have such pleas from man and nature. Besides it is a jeering and flouting vice, and apt to put jests on the reprover. The pox only converts them, and that only when it kills them.



Is a man too quick for himself; one whose actions put a leg still before his judgement, and out-run it. Every hot fancy or passion is the signal that sets him forward, and his reason comes still in the rear. One that has brain enough, but not patience to digest a business, and stay the leisure of a second thought. All deliberation is to him a kind of sloth and freezing of action, and it shall burn him rather than take cold. He is always resolved at first thinking, and the ground he goes upon is, hap what may. Thus he enters not, but throws himself violently upon all things, and for the most part is as violently upon all off again; and as an obstinate "I will" was the preface to his undertaking, so his conclusion is commonly "I would I had not;" for such men seldom do any thing that they are not forced to take in pieces again, and are so much farther off from doing it, as they have done already. His friends are with him as his physician, sought to only in his sickness and extremity, and to help him out of that mire he has plunged himself into; for in the suddenness of his passions he would hear nothing, and now his ill success has allayed him he hears too late. He is a man still swayed with the first reports, and no man more in the power of a pick-thank than he. He is one will fight first, and then expostulate, condemn first, and then examine. He loses his friend in a fit of quarrelling, and in a fit of kindness undoes himself; and then curses the occasion drew this mischief upon him, and cries, God mercy! for it, and curses again. His repentance is meerly a rage against himself, and he does something in itself to be repented again. He is a man whom fortune must go against much to make him happy, for had he been suffered his own way, he had been undone.



Is an extraordinary man in ordinary things. One that would go a strain beyond himself, and is taken in it. A man that overdoes all things with great solemnity of circumstance; and whereas with more negligence he might pass better, makes himself with a great deal of endeavour ridiculous. The fancy of some odd quaintnesses have put him clean beside his nature; he cannot be that he would, and hath lost what he was. He is one must be point-blank in every trifle, as if his credit and opinion hung upon it; the very space of his arms in an embrace studied before and premeditated, and the figure of his countenance of a fortnight's contriving; he will not curse you without-book and extempore, but in some choice way, and perhaps as some great man curses. Every action of his cries,—"Do ye mark me?" and men do mark him how absurd he is: for affectation is the most betraying humour, and nothing that puzzles a man less to find out than this. All the actions of his life are like so many things bodged in without any natural cadence or connection at all. You shall track him all through like a schoolboy's theme, one piece from one author and this from another, and join all in this general, that they are none of his own. You shall observe his mouth not made for that tone, nor his face for that simper; and it is his luck that his finest things most misbecome him. If he affect the gentleman as the humour most commonly lies that way, not the least punctilio of a fine man, but he is strict in to a hair, even to their very negligences, which he cons as rules. He will not carry a knife with him to wound reputation, and pay double a reckoning, rather than ignobly question it: and he is full of this—ignobly—and nobly—and genteely;—and this meer fear to trespass against the genteel way puts him out most of all. It is a humour runs through many things besides, but is an ill-favoured ostentation in all, and thrives not:—and the best use of such men is, they are good parts in a play.



Is one that denies God as far as the law gives him leave; that is, only does not say so in downright terms, for so far he may go. A man that does the greatest sins calmly, and as the ordinary actions of life, and as calmly discourses of it again. He will tell you his business is to break such a commandment, and the breaking of the commandment shall tempt him to it. His words are but so many vomitings cast up to the loathsomeness of the hearers, only those of his company[93] loath it not. He will take upon him with oaths to pelt some tenderer man out of his company, and makes good sport at his conquest over the puritan fool. The scripture supplies him for jests, and he reads it on purpose to be thus merry: he will prove you his sin out of the bible, and then ask if you will not take that authority. He never sees the church but of purpose to sleep in it, or when some silly man preaches, with whom he means to make sport, and is most jocund in the church. One that nick-names clergymen with all the terms of reproach, as "rat, black-coat" and the like; which he will be sure to keep up, and never calls them by other: that sings psalms when he is drunk, and cries "God mercy" in mockery, for he must do it. He is one seems to dare God in all his actions, but indeed would out-dare the opinion of him, which would else turn him desperate; for atheism is the refuge of such sinners, whose repentance would be only to hang themselves.


[93] Those of the same habits with himself; his associates.



Is the man that is commonly most fierce against the coward, and labouring to take off this suspicion from himself; for the opinion of valour is a good protection to those that dare not use it. No man is valianter than he is in civil company, and where he thinks no danger may come on it, and is the readiest man to fall upon a drawer and those that must not strike again: wonderful exceptious and cholerick where he sees men are loth to give him occasion, and you cannot pacify him better than by quarrelling with him. The hotter you grow, the more temperate man is he; he protests he always honoured you, and the more you rail upon him, the more he honours you, and you threaten him at last into a very honest quiet man. The sight of a sword wounds him more sensibly than the stroke, for before that come he is dead already. Every man is his master that dare beat him, and every man dares that knows him. And he that dare do this is the only man can do much with him; for his friend he cares not for, as a man that carries no such terror as his enemy, which for this cause only is more potent with him of the two: and men fall out with him of purpose to get courtesies from him, and be bribed again to a reconcilement. A man in whom no secret can be bound up, for the apprehension of each danger loosens him, and makes him bewray both the room and it. He is a christian meerly for fear of hell-fire; and if any religion could fright him more, would be of that.



Is a beggar of a fair estate, of whose wealth we may say as of other men's unthriftiness, that it has brought him to this: when he had nothing he lived in another kind of fashion. He is a man whom men hate in his own behalf for using himself thus, and yet, being upon himself, it is but justice, for he deserves it. Every accession of a fresh heap bates him so much of his allowance, and brings him a degree nearer starving. His body had been long since desperate, but for the reparation of other men's tables, where he hoards meats in his belly for a month, to maintain him in hunger so long. His clothes were never young in our memory; you might make long epochas from them, and put them into the almanack with the dear year[94] and the great frost,[95] and he is known by them longer than his face. He is one never gave alms in his life, and yet is as charitable to his neighbour as himself. He will redeem a penny with his reputation, and lose all his friends to boot; and his reason is, he will not be undone. He never pays any thing but with strictness of law, for fear of which only he steals not. He loves to pay short a shilling or two in a great sum, and is glad to gain that when he can no more. He never sees friend but in a journey to save the charges of an inn, and then only is not sick; and his friends never see him but to abuse him. He is a fellow indeed of a kind of frantick thrift, and one of the strangest things that wealth can work.


[94] The dear year here, I believe, alluded to, was in 1574, and is thus described by that faithful and valuable historian Holinshed:—"This yeare, about Lammas, wheat was sold at London for three shillings the bushell: but shortlie after, it was raised to foure shillings, fiue shillings, six shillings, and, before Christmas, to a noble, and seuen shillings; which so continued long after. Beefe was sold for twentie pence, and two and twentie pence the stone; and all other flesh and white meats at an excessiue price; all kind of salt fish verie deare, as fiue herings two pence, &c.; yet great plentie of fresh fish, and oft times the same verie cheape. Pease at foure shillings the bushell; ote-meale at foure shillings eight pence; baie salt at three shillings the bushell, &c. All this dearth notwithstanding, (thanks be given to God,) there was no want of anie thing to them that wanted not monie." Holinshed, Chronicle, vol. 3, page 1259, a. edit. folio, 1587.

[95] On the 21st of December, 1564, began a frost referred to by Fleming, in his Index to Holinshed, as the "frost called the great frost," which lasted till the 3rd of January, 1565. It was so severe that the Thames was frozen over, and the passage on it, from London-bridge to Westminster, as easy as, and more frequented than that on dry land.



Is so much heraldry without honour, himself less real than his title. His virtue is, that he was his father's son, and all the expectation of him to beget another. A man that lives meerly to preserve another's memory, and let us know who died so many years ago. One of just as much use as his images, only he differs in this, that he can speak himself, and save the fellow of Westminster[96] a labour: and he remembers nothing better than what was out of his life. His grandfathers and their acts are his discourse, and he tells them with more glory than they did them; and it is well they did enough, or else he had wanted matter. His other studies are his sports and those vices that are fit for great men. Every vanity of his has his officer, and is a serious employment for his servants. He talks loud, and baudily, and scurvily as a part of state, and they hear him with reverence. All good qualities are below him, and especially learning, except some parcels of the chronicle and the writing of his name, which he learns to write not to be read. He is meerly of his servants' faction, and their instrument for their friends and enemies, and is always least thanked for his own courtesies. They that fool him most do most with him, and he little thinks how many laugh at him bare-head. No man is kept in ignorance more of himself and men, for he hears nought but flattery; and what is fit to be spoken, truth with so much preface that it loses itself. Thus he lives till his tomb be made ready, and is then a grave statue to posterity.


[96] The person who exhibits Westminster abbey.



Is the most impotent man, though neither blind nor lame, as wanting the more necessary limbs of life, without which limbs are a burden. A man unfenced and unsheltered from the gusts of the world, which blow all in upon him, like an unroofed house; and the bitterest thing he suffers is his neighbours. All men put on to him a kind of churlisher fashion, and even more plausible natures are churlish to him, as who are nothing advantaged by his opinion. Whom men fall out with before-hand to prevent friendship, and his friends too to prevent engagements, or if they own him 'tis in private and a by-room, and on condition not to know them before company. All vice put together is not half so scandalous, nor sets off our acquaintance farther; and even those that are not friends for ends do not love any dearness with such men. The least courtesies are upbraided to him, and himself thanked for none, but his best services suspected as handsome sharking and tricks to get money. And we shall observe it in knaves themselves, that your beggarliest knaves are the greatest, or thought so at least, for those that have wit to thrive by it have art not to seem so. Now a poor man has not vizard enough to mask his vices, nor ornament enough to set forth his virtues, but both are naked and unhandsome; and though no man is necessitated to more ill, yet no man's ill is less excused, but it is thought a kind of impudence in him to be vicious, and a presumption above his fortune. His good parts lye dead upon his hands, for want of matter to employ them, and at the best are not commended but pitied, as virtues ill placed, and we may say of him, "Tis an honest man, but tis pity;" and yet those that call him so will trust a knave before him. He is a man that has the truest speculation of the world, because all men shew to him in their plainest and worst, as a man they have no plot on, by appearing good to; whereas rich men are entertained with a more holy-day behaviour, and see only the best we can dissemble. He is the only he that tries the true strength of wisdom, what it can do of itself without the help of fortune; that with a great deal of virtue conquers extremities, and with a great deal more his own impatience, and obtains of himself not to hate men.



Is one whom it concerns to be called honest, for if he were not this, he were nothing: and yet he is not this neither, but a good dull vicious fellow, that complies well with the deboshments[97] of the time, and is fit for it. One that has no good part in him to offend his company, or make him to be suspected a proud fellow; but is sociably a dunce, and sociably a drinker. That does it fair and above-board without legermain, and neither sharks[98] for a cup or a reckoning: that is kind over his beer, and protests he loves you, and begins to you again, and loves you again. One that quarrels with no man, but for not pledging him, but takes all absurdities and commits as many, and is no tell-tale next morning, though he remember it. One that will fight for his friend if he hear him abused, and his friend commonly is he that is most likely, and he lifts up many a jug in his defence. He rails against none but censurers, against whom he thinks he rails lawfully, and censurers are all those that are better than himself. These good properties qualify him for honesty enough, and raise him high in the ale-house commendation, who, if he had any other good quality, would be named by that. But now for refuge he is an honest man, and hereafter a sot: only those that commend him think him not so, and those that commend him are honest fellows.


[97] Minshew interprets the verb deboshe, "to corrupt, make lewde, vitiate." When the word was first adopted from the French language, (says Mr. Steevens, in a note to the Tempest,) it appears to have been spelt according to the pronunciation, and therefore wrongly; but ever since it has been spelt right, it has been uttered with equal impropriety.

[98] The verb to shark is frequently used, by old writers, for to pilfer, and, as in the present instance, to spunge.



Is one that watches himself a mischief, and keeps a lear eye still, for fear it should escape him. A man that sees a great deal more in every thing than is to be seen, and yet he thinks he sees nothing: his own eye stands in his light. He is a fellow commonly guilty of some weaknesses, which he might conceal if he were careless:—now his over-diligence to hide them makes men pry the more. Howsoever he imagines you have found him, and it shall go hard but you must abuse him whether you will or no. Not a word can be spoke, but nips him somewhere; not a jest thrown out, but he will make it hit him. You shall have him go fretting out of company, with some twenty quarrels to every man, stung and galled, and no man knows less the occasion than they that have given it. To laugh before him is a dangerous matter, for it cannot be at any thing but at him, and to whisper in his company plain conspiracy. He bids you speak out, and he will answer you, when you thought not of him. He expostulates with you in passion, why you should abuse him, and explains to your ignorance wherein, and gives you very good reason at last to laugh at him hereafter. He is one still accusing others when they are not guilty, and defending himself when he is not accused: and no man is undone more with apologies, wherein he is so elaborately excessive, that none will believe him; and he is never thought worse of, than when he has given satisfaction. Such men can never have friends, because they cannot trust so far; and this humour hath this infection with it, it makes all men to them suspicious. In conclusion, they are men always in offence and vexation with themselves and their neighbours, wronging others in thinking they would wrong them, and themselves most of all in thinking they deserve it.



No. I.


All the biographical writers who have taken notice of JOHN EARLE agree in stating, that he was born in the city of York, although not one of them has given the exact date of his birth, or any intelligence relative to his family, or the rank in life of his parents. It is, however, most probable, that they were persons of respectability and fortune, as he was sent, at an early age, to Oxford, and entered as a commoner of Christ-church college[AY], where his conduct was so exemplary, his attention to his studies so marked, and his general deportment and manners so pleasing, that he became a successful candidate at Merton-college, and was admitted a probationary fellow on that foundation in 1620, being then, according to Wood[AZ], about nineteen years of age. He took the degree of Master of Arts, July 10, 1624, and in 1631 served the office of Proctor of the university, about which time he was also appointed chaplain to Philip Earl of Pembroke, then Chancellor of Oxford.

During the earlier part of our author's life, he appears to have possessed considerable reputation as a poet, and to have been as remarkable for the pleasantry of his conversation, as for his learning, virtues, and piety. Wood[BA] tells us that "his younger years were adorned with oratory, poetry, and witty fancies, his elder with quaint preaching and subtile disputes." The only specimens of his poetry which can be recovered at this time, are three funeral tributes, which will be found in the Appendix, and of which two are now printed, I believe, for the first time.

Soon after his appointment to be Lord Pembroke's chaplain, he was presented by that nobleman to the rectory of Bishopstone, in Wiltshire; nor was this the only advantage he reaped from the friendship of his patron, who being at that time Lord Chamberlain of the King's household[BB], was entitled to a lodging in the court for his chaplain, a circumstance which in all probability introduced Mr. Earle to the notice of the King, who promoted him to be chaplain and tutor to Prince Charles, when Dr. Duppa, who had previously discharged that important trust, was raised to the bishopric of Salisbury.

In 1642 Earle took his degree of Doctor in Divinity, and in the year following was actually elected one of the Assembly of Divines appointed by the parliament to new model the church. This office, although it may be considered a proof of the high opinion even those of different sentiments from himself entertained of his character and merit, he refused to accept, when he saw that there was no probability of assisting the cause of religion, or of restraining the violence of a misguided faction, by an interference among those who were "declared and avowed enemies to the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England; some of them infamous in their lives and conversations, and most of them of very mean parts in learning, if not of scandalous ignorance[BC]."

On the 10th of February, 1643, Dr. Earle was elected chancellor of the cathedral of Salisbury[BD], of which situation, as well as his living of Bishopstone, he was shortly after deprived by the ill success of the royal cause[BE].

When the defeat of the King's forces at Worcester compelled Charles the Second to fly his country, Earle attached himself to the fallen fortunes of his sovereign, and was among the first of those who saluted him upon his arrival at Rouen in Normandy, where he was made clerk of the closet, and King's chaplain[BF]. Nor was his affection to the family of the Stuarts, and his devotion to their cause evinced by personal services only, as we find by a letter from Lord Clarendon to Dr. Barwick, that he assisted the King with money in his necessities[BG].

During the time that Charles was in Scotland, Dr. Earle resided in Antwerp, with his friend Dr. Morley[BH], from whence he was called upon to attend the Duke of York (afterwards James II.) at Paris[BI], in order that he might heal some of the breaches which were then existing between certain members of the duke's household[BJ]; and here it is probable he remained till the recal of Charles the Second to the throne of England.

Upon the Restoration, Dr. Earle received the reward of his constancy and loyalty, he was immediately promoted to the deanery of Westminster, a situation long designed for him by the King[BK]. In 1661 he was appointed one of the commissioners for a review of the Liturgy[BL], and on November 30, 1662, was consecrated Bishop of Worcester, from which see he was translated, September 28, 1663, to the dignity of Salisbury[BM].

Little more remains to be added.—Bishop Earle appears to have continued his residence with the royal family after the acquisition of his well-deserved honours; and when the court retired to Oxford, during the plague in 1665, he attended their majesties to the place of his early education, and died at his apartments in University College, on the 17th of November. He was buried on the 25th, near the high altar, in Merton College chapel; and was, according to Wood, "accompanied to his grave, from the public schools, by an herald at arms, and the principal persons of the court and university." His monument, which stands at the north-east corner of the chapel, is still in excellent preservation, and possesses the following inscription:—

"Amice, si quis hic sepultus est roges, Ille, qui nec meruit, unqua—Nec quod majus est, habuit Inimicum; Qui potuit in aula vivere, et mundum spernere Concionator educatus inter principes, Et ipse facile princeps inter concionatores, Evangelista indefessus, Episcopus pientissimus; Ille qui una cum sacratissimo Rege, Cujus & juvenilium studiorum, et animae Deo charae Curam a beatissimo Patre demandatam gessit, Nobile ac Religiosum exilium est passus; Ille qui Hookeri ingentis Politiam Ecclesiasticam, Ille qui Caroli Martyris [Greek: EIKO'NA BASILIKE'N], (Volumen quo post Apocalypsin divinius nullum) Legavit Orbi sic Latine redditas, Ut uterque unius Fidei Defensor, Patriam adhuc retineat majestatem. Si nomen ejus necdum tibi suboleat, Lector, Nomen ejus ut unguenta pretiosa: JOHANNES EARLE Eboracensis, Serenissimo Carolo 2^{do} Regij Oratorij Clericus, {aliquando Westmonasteriensi, Decanus, Ecclesiae {deinde Wigorniensis} {tandem Sarisburiensis} Angelus. {et nunc triumphantis} Obiit Oxonij Novemb. 17^o. Anno {Dōni: 1665^{to}. {AEtatis suae 65^{to}. Voluitq. in hoc, ubi olim floruerat, Collegio, Ex AEde Christi hue in Socium ascitus, Ver magnum, ut reflorescat, expectare."


[AX] The following brief memoir pretends to be nothing more than an enumeration of such particulars relative to the excellent prelate, whose Characters are here offered to the public, as could be gathered from the historical and biographical productions of the period in which he flourished. It is hoped that no material occurrence has been overlooked, or circumstance mis-stated; but should any errors appear to have escaped his observation, the editor will feel obliged by the friendly intimation of such persons as may be possessed of more copious information than he has been able to obtain, in order that they may be acknowledged and corrected in another place.

[AY] He took the degree of Bachelor of Arts whilst a member of this society, July 8, 1619, and appears to have been always attached to it. In 1660 he gave twenty pounds towards repairing the cathedral and college.

Wood. Hist. et Antiq. Univ. Oxon. lib. ii. p. 284.

[AZ] Athenae Oxon. ii. 365.

[BA] Athenae Oxon. ii. 365.

[BB] Collins' Peerage, iii. 123.

[BC] Clarendon. History of the Rebellion, ii. 827. Edit. Oxford, 1807.

[BD] Walker. Sufferings of the Clergy, fol. 1714, part ii. page 63.

[BE] During the early part of the civil wars, and whilst success was doubtful on either side, he appears to have lived in retirement, and to have employed himself in a translation of Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity into Latin, which, however, was never made public. At the appearance of Charles the First's [Greek: Eikon Basilike], he was desired by the king (Ch. II.) to execute the same task upon that production, which he performed with great ability. It was printed for distribution on the continent in 1649.

[BF] Wood. Ath. Oxon. ii. 365.

[BG] Life of Dr. John Barwick, 8vo. Lond. 1724. p. 522.

[BH] Dr. George Morley was chaplain to Charles the First, and canon of Christ Church, Oxford. At the Restoration he was made, first dean of Christ Church, then bishop of Worcester, and lastly bishop of Winchester, He died at Farnham-castle, October 29, 1684. See Wood. Athen. Oxon. ii. 581.

[BI] Wood. Athenae, ii. 770.

[BJ] Clarendon's Rebellion, iii. 659.

[BK] Life of Barwick, 452.

[BL] Kennet's Register, folio, 1728, page 504.

[BM] Wood. Athenae, ii. 366.

No. II.


——"He was a person very notable for his elegance in the Greek and Latin tongues; and being fellow of Merton college in Oxford, and having been proctor of the university, and some very witty and sharp discourses being published in print without his consent, though known to be his, he grew suddenly into a very general esteem with all men; being a man of great piety and devotion; a most eloquent and powerful preacher; and of a conversation so pleasant and delightful, so very innocent, and so very facetious, that no man's company was more desired, and more loved. No man was more negligent in his dress, and habit, and mein; no man more wary and cultivated in his behaviour and discourse; insomuch as he had the greater advantage when he was known, by promising so little before he was known. He was an excellent poet both in Latin, Greek, and English, as appears by many pieces yet abroad; though he suppressed many more himself, especially of English, incomparably good, out of an austerity to those sallies of his youth. He was very dear to the Lord Falkland, with whom he spent as much time as he could make his own; and as that lord would impute the speedy progress he made in the Greek tongue to the information and assistance he had from Mr. Earles, so Mr. Earles would frequently profess that he had got more useful learning by his conversation at Tew (the Lord Falkland's house,) than he had at Oxford. In the first settling of the prince his family, he was made one of his chaplains, and attended on him when he was forced to leave the kingdom. He was amongst the few excellent men who never had, nor ever could have, an enemy, but such a one who was an enemy to all learning and virtue, and therefore would never make himself known."

LORD CLARENDON. Account of his own Life, folio, Oxford, 1759, p. 26.

* * * * *

——"This is that Dr. Earle, who from his youth (I had almost said from his childhood,) for his natural and acquired abilities was so very eminent in the university of Oxon; and after was chosen to be one of the first chaplains to his Majesty (when Prince of Wales): who knew not how to desert his master, but with duty and loyalty (suitable to the rest of his many great virtues, both moral and intellectual,) faithfully attended his Majesty both at home and abroad, as chaplain, and clerk of his majesty's closet, and upon his majesty's happy return, was made Dean of Westminster, and now Lord Bishop of Worcester, (for which, December 7, he did homage to his Majesty,) having this high and rare felicity by his excellent and spotless conversation, to have lived so many years in the court of England, so near his Majesty, and yet not given the least offence to any man alive; though both in and out of pulpit he used all Christian freedom against the vanities of this age, being honoured and admired by all who have either known, heard, or read him."

WHITE KENNETT (Bishop of Peterborough) Register and Chronicle Ecclesiastical and Civil, folio, London, 1728, page 834.

* * * * *

——"Dr. Earle, now Lord Bishop of Salisbury, of whom I may justly say, (and let it not offend him, because it is such a truth as ought not to be concealed from posterity, or those that now live and yet know him not,) that, since Mr. Hooker died, none have lived whom God hath blessed with more innocent wisdom, more sanctified learning, or a more pious, peaceable, primitive temper: so that this excellent person seems to be only like himself, and our venerable Richard Hooker."

WALTON. Life of Mr. Richard Hooker, 8vo. Oxford, 1805, i. 327.

* * * * *

——"This Dr. Earles, lately Lord Bishop of Salisbury.—A person certainly of the sweetest, most obliging nature that lived in our age."

HUGH CRESSEY. Epistle Apologetical to a Person of Honour (Lord Clarendon), 8vo. 1674, page 46.

* * * * *

——"Dr. Earle, Bishop of Salisbury, was a man that could do good against evil; forgive much, and of a charitable heart."

PIERCE. Conformist's Plea for Nonconformity, 4to. 1681, page 174.

No. III.


1. Microcosmography, or a Piece of the World discovered, in Essays and Characters. London. 1628. &c. &c. 12mo.

2. Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, translated into Latin. This, says Wood, "is in MS. and not yet printed." In whose possession the MS. was does not appear, nor have I been able to trace it in the catalogue of any public or private collection.

3. Hortus Mertonensis, a Latin Poem, of which Wood gives the first line "Hortus deliciae domus politae." It is now supposed to be lost.

4. Lines on the Death of Sir John Burroughs; now printed for the first time. See Appendix, No. IV.

5. Lines on the Death of the Earl of Pembroke; now printed for the first time. See Appendix, No. V.

6. Elegy upon Francis Beaumont; first printed at the end of Beaumont's Poems, London, 1640. 4to. See Appendix, No. VI.

7. [Greek: Eikon Basilike], vel Imago Regis Caroli, In illis suis AErumnis et Solitudine. Hagae-Comitis. Typis S. B. &c. 1649. 12mo. See Appendix, No. VII.[BN]


[BN] Besides the pieces above noticed, several smaller poems were undoubtedly in circulation during Earle's life, the titles of which are not preserved. Wood supposes (Ath. Oxon.) our author to have contributed to "some of the Figures, of which about ten were published" but is ignorant of the exact numbers to be attributed to his pen. In the Bodleian[BO] is "The Figvre of Fovre: Wherein are sweet flowers, gathered out of that fruitfull ground, that I hope will yeeld pleasure and profit to all sorts of people. The second Part, London, Printed for Iohn Wright, and are to bee sold at his shop without Newgate, at the signe of the Bible, 1636." This, however, was undoubtedly one of Breton's productions, as his initials are affixed to the preface. It is in 12mo. and consists of twenty pages, not numbered. The following extracts will be sufficient to shew the nature of the volume.

"There are foure persons not to be believed: a horse-courser when he sweares, a whore when shee weepes, a lawyer when he pleads false, and a traveller when he tels wonders.

"There are foure great cyphers in the world: hee that is lame among dancers, dumbe among lawyers, dull among schollers and rude amongst courtiers

"Foure things grievously empty: a head without braines, a wit without judgment, a heart without honesty, and a purse without money."

Ant. Wood possessed the figure of six, which, however, is now not to be found among his books left to the university of Oxford, and deposited in Ashmole's museum. That it once was there, is evident from the MS. catalogue of that curious collection.

[BO] 8vo. L. 78. Art.

No. IV.



[From a MS. in the Bodleian.]—(Rawl. Poet. 142.)

Why did we thus expose thee? what's now all That island to requite thy funeral? Though thousand French in murder'd heaps do lie, It may revenge, it cannot satisfy: We must bewail our conquest when we see Our price too dear to buy a victory. He whose brave fire gave heat to all the rest, That dealt his spirit in t' each English breast, From whose divided virtues you may take So many captains out, and fully make Them each accomplish'd with those parts, the which, Jointly, did his well-furnish'd soul enrich. Not rashly valiant, nor yet fearful wise, His flame had counsel, and his fury, eyes. Not struck in courage at the drum's proud beat, Or made fierce only by the trumpet's heat— When e'en pale hearts above their pitch do fly, And, for a while do mad it valiantly. His rage was tempered well, no fear could daunt His reason, his cold blood was valiant. Alas! these vulgar praises injure thee; Which now a poet would as plenteously Give some brag-soldier, one that knew no more Than the fine scabbard and the scarf he wore. Fathers shall tell their children [this] was he, (And they hereafter to posterity,) Rank'd with those forces scourged France of old, Burrough's and Talbot's[BQ] names together told.



[BP] For an account of the unsuccessful expedition to the Isle of Re, under the command of the Duke of Buckingham, see Carte's History of England, vol. iv. page 176, folio, Lond. 1755. Sir John Burroughs, a general of considerable renown, who possessed the chief confidence of the Duke, fell in an endeavour to reconnoitre the works of the enemy, Aug. 1627.

[BQ] Sir John Talbot, first earl of Shrewsbury, of whom see Collins' Peerage, iii. 9. Holinshed, Rapin, Carte, &c.

No. V.


[From the same MS.]

Come, Pembroke lives! Oh! do not fright our ears With the destroying truth! first raise our fears And say he is not well: that will suffice To force a river from the public eyes, Or, if he must be dead, oh! let the news Speak in astonish'd whispers: let it use Some phrase without a voice, and be so told, As if the labouring sense griev'd to unfold Its doubtfull woe. Could not the public zeal Conquer the Fates, and save your's? Did the dart Of death, without a preface, pierce your heart? Welcome, sad weeds—but he that mourns for thee, Must bring an eye that can weep elegy. A look that would save blacks: whose heavy grace Chides mirth, and bears a funeral in his face. Whose sighs are with such feeling sorrows blown, That all the air he draws returns a groan. Thou needst no gilded tomb—thy memory, Is marble to itself—the bravery Of jem or rich enamel is mis-spent— Thy noble corpse is its own monument!

Mr. EARLES, Merton.


[BR] William, third Earl of Pembroke, son of Henry, Earl of Pembroke, and Mary, sister to Sir Philip Sidney, was the elder brother of Earle's patron, and Chancellor of Oxford. He died at Baynard's castle, April 10, 1630.

No. VI.



[From "Comedies and Tragedies written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, Gentlemen" folio. London. 1647.]

Beaumont lies here: And where now shall we have A muse like his to sigh upon his grave? Ah! none to weep this with a worthy tear, But he that cannot, Beaumont that lies here. Who now shall pay thy tomb with such a verse As thou that lady's didst, fair Rutland's herse. A monument that will then lasting be, When all her marble is more dust than she. In thee all's lost: a sudden dearth and want Hath seiz'd on wit, good epitaphs are scant. We dare not write thy elegy, whilst each fears He ne'er shall match that copy of thy tears. Scarce in an age a poet, and yet he Scarce live the third part of his age to see, But quickly taken off and only known, Is in a minute shut as soon as shown. Why should weak Nature tire herself in vain In such a piece, to dash it straight again? Why should she take such work beyond her skill, Which, when she cannot perfect, she must kill? Alas! what is't to temper slime and mire? But Nature's puzzled when she works in fire. Great brains (like brightest glass) crack straight, while those Of stone or wood hold out, and fear not blows; And we their ancient hoary heads can see Whose wit was never their mortality. Beaumont dies young, so Sidney did before, There was not poetry he could live to more, He could not grow up higher, I scarce know If th' art itself unto that pitch could grow, Were't not in thee that hadst arriv'd the height Of all that wit could reach, or nature might. O when I read those excellent things of thine, Such strength, such sweetness couched in ev'ry line, Such life of fancy, such high choice of brain, Nought of the vulgar wit or borrow'd strain, Such passion, such expressions meet my eye, Such wit untainted with obscenity, And these so unaffectedly exprest, All in a language purely flowing drest, And all so born within thyself, thine own, So new, so fresh, so nothing trod upon: I grieve not now that old Menander's vein Is ruin'd to survive in thee again; Such, in his time, was he of the same piece, The smooth, even, nat'ral wit and love of Greece. Those few sententious fragments shew more worth, Than all the poets Athens e'er brought forth; And I am sorry we have lost those hours On them, whose quickness comes far short of ours, And dwell not more on thee, whose ev'ry page May be a pattern for their scene and stage. I will not yield thy works so mean a praise; More pure, more chaste, more sainted than are plays: Nor with that dull supineness to be read, To pass a fire, or laugh an hour in bed. How do the Muses suffer every where, Taken in such mouth's censure, in such ears, That 'twixt a whiff, a line or two rehearse, And with their rheume together spaul a verse? This all a poem's leisure after play, Drink, or tobacco, it may keep the day: Whilst ev'n their very idleness they think Is lost in these, that lose their time in drink. Pity then dull we, we that better know, Will a more serious hour on thee bestow. Why should not Beaumont in the morning please, As well as Plautus, Aristophanes? Who, if my pen may as my thoughts be free, Were scurril wits and buffoons both to thee; Yet these our learned of severest brow Will deign to look on, and to note them too, That will defy our own, 'tis English stuff, And th' author is not rotten long enough, Alas! what phlegm are they compar'd to thee, In thy Philaster, and Maid's-Tragedy? Where's such a humour as thy Bessus? pray Let them put all their Thrasoes in one play, He shall out-bid them; their conceit was poor, All in a circle of a bawd or whore; A coz'ning dance; take the fool away And not a good jest extant in a play. Yet these are wits, because they'r old, and now Being Greek and Latin, they are learning too: But those their own times were content t'allow A thirsty fame, and thine is lowest now. But thou shalt live, and, when thy name is grown Six ages older, shall be better known, When th' art of Chaucer's standing in the tomb, Thou shalt not share, but take up all his room.


No. VII.



[Greek: Eikon Basilike].

"Serenissimo et Potentissimo Monarchae, Carolo Secundo. Dei Gratia Magnae Britanniae, Franciae et Hiberniae Regi, Fidei Defensori, &c.

Serenissime Rex,

Prodeat jam sub tuis auspiciis illa patris tui gloriosissimi imago, illa qua magis ad Dei similitudinem, quam qua Rex aut homo accedit. Prodeat vero eo colore peregrino, quo facta omnibus conspectior fiat publica. Ita enim tu voluisti, ut sic lingua omnium communi orbi traderem, in qua utinam feliciorem tibi operam navare licuisset, ut illam nativam elegantiam, illam vim verborum et lumina, illam admirabilem sermonis structuram exprimerem. Quod cum fieri (fortasse nec a peritissimis) a me certe non possit, praestat interim ut cum aliqua venustatis injuria magnam partem Europae alloquatur, quam intra paucos suae gentis clausa apud caeteros omnes conticescat. Sunt enim hic velut quaedam Dei magnalia quae spargi expedit humano generi, et in omnium linguis exaudiri: id pro mea facultate curavi, ut si non sensa tanti authoris ornate, at perspicue et fide traderem, imo nec ab ipsa dictione et phrasi (quantum Latini idiomatis ratio permittit) vel minimum recederem. Sacri enim codicis religiosum esse decet interpretem: et certe proxime ab illo sacro et adorando codice, (qui in has comparationes non cadit,) spera non me audacem futurum, si dixero nullum inter caeteros mortalium, vel autore vel argumento illustriorem, vel in quo viva magis pietas et eximie Christiana spiratur.

Habet vero sanctitas regia nescio quid ex fortunae suae majestate sublimius quiddain et augustius, et quae imperium magis obtinet in mentes hominum, et reverentia majore accipitur: quare et his maxime instrumentis usus est Deus, qui illam partem sacrae paginae ad solennem Dei cultum pertinentem, psalmos scilicet, et hymnos: caeteraque ejusmodi perpetuis ecclesiae usibus inservitura, transmitterent hominibus, et auctoritatem quandam conciliarent. Quid quod libentius etiam arripiunt homines sic objectam et traditam pietatem. Quod et libro huic evenit, et erit magis eventurum, quo jam multo diffusior plures sui capaces invenerit.

Magnum erat profecto sic meditari, sic scribere; multo majus sic vivere, sic mori: ut sit haec pene nimia dictu pietas exemplo illius superata. Scit haec illa orbis pars miserrima jam et contaminatissima. Utinam hanc maturius intellexissent virtutem, quam jam sero laudant, et admirantur amissam, nec illa opus fuisset dira fornace, qua tam eximia regis pietas exploraretur, ex qua nos tantum miseri facti sumus, ille omnium felicissimus; cujus illa pars vitae novissima et aerumnosissima et supremus dies, (in quo hominibus, et angelis spectaculum factus stetit animo excelso et interrito, summum fidei, constantiae, patientiae exemplar, superior malis suis, et tota simul conjesta inferni malitia) omnes omnium triumphos et quicquid est humanae gloriae, susuperavit. Nihil egistis O quot estis, hominum! (sed nolo libro sanctissimo quicquam tetrius praefari, nec qaos ille inter preces nominat, maledicere) nihil, inquam, egistis hoc parricidio, nisi quod famam illius et immortalitatem cum aeterno vestro probro et scelere conjunxistis. Nemo unquam ab orbe condito tot veris omnium lacrymis, tot sinceris laudibus celebratus est. Nulli unquam principum in secundis agenti illos fictos plausus vel metus dedit, vel adulatio vendidit, quam hic verissimos expressere fuga, carcer, theatrum et illa omnium funestissima securis, qua obstupe, fecit hostes moriens et caesus triumphavit.

Tu interim (Rex augustissime) vera et viva patris effigies, (cujus inter summas erat felicitates humanas, et in adversis solatium te genuisse, in quo superstite mori non potest) inflammeris maxime hoc mortis illius exemplo, non tam in vindictae cupidinem, (in quem alii te extimulent, non ego) quam in heroicae virtutis, et constantiae zelum: hanc vero primum adeas quam nulla vis tibi invito eripiet, haereditariam pietatem; et quo es in tuos omnes affectu maxime philostorgo, hunc librum eodem tecum genitore satum amplectere; dic sapientiae, soror mea es, et prudentiam affinem voca; hanc tu consule, hanc frequens meditare, hanc imbibe penitus, et in animam tuam transfunde. Vides in te omnium conjectos oculos, in te omnium bonorum spes sitas, ex te omnium vitas pendere, quas jamdiu multi taedio projecissent, nisi ut essent quas tibi impenderent. Magnum onus incumbit, magna urget procella, magna expectatio, major omnium, quam quae unquam superius, virtutum necessitas: an sit regnum amplius in Britannia futurum, an religio, an homines, an Deus, ex tua virtute, tua fortuna dependet: immo, sola potius ex Deo fortuna; cujus opem quo magis hic necessariam agnoscis, praesentaneam requiris, eo magis magisque, (quod jam facis) omni pietatis officio promerearis: et illa quae in te large sparsit bonitatis, prudentiae, temperantiae, justitiae, et omnis regiae virtutis semina foveas, augeas, et in fructum matures, ut tibi Deus placatus et propitius, quod detraxit patri tuo felicitatis humanae, tibi adjiciat, et omnes illius aerumnas conduplicatis in te beneficiis compenset, et appelleris ille restaurator, quem te unice optant omnes et sperant futurum, et ardentissimis precibus expetit.

Majestatis tuae humillimus devotissimusque subditus et sacellanus,




[Written by Dr. Earle, then Dean of Westminster.]

Depositum Mortale Petri Heylyn, S. Th. D. Hujus Ecclesiae Prebendarii et Subdecani, Viri plane memorabilis, Egregiis dotibus instructissimi, Ingenio acri et foecundo, Judicio subacto, Memoria ad prodigium tenaci, Cui adjunxit incredibilem in studiis patientiam Quae cessantibus oculis non cessarunt. Scripsit varia et plurima, Quae jam manibus hominum teruntur; Et argumentis non vulgaribus Stylo non vulgari suffecit. Et Majestatis Regiae assertor Nec florentis magis utriusque Quam afflictae, Idemque perduellium et scismaticae factionis Impugnator acerrimus. Contemptor invidiae Et animo infracto Plura ejusmodi meditanti Mors indixit silentium: Ut sileatur Efficere non potest. Obiit Anno AEtatis 63, et 8 die Maii, A. D. 1662. Possuit hoc illi maestissima conjux.


[BS] Peter Heylin was born at Burford, in Oxfordshire, Nov. 29, 1599 and received the rudiments of his education at the free school in that place, from whence he removed to Harthall, and afterwards obtained a fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford. By the interposition of Bishop Laud, to whom he was recommended by Lord Danvers, he was presented first to the rectory of Hemingford, in Huntingdonshire, then to a prebend of Westminster, and lastly to the rectory of Houghton in the Spring, in the diocese of Durham, which latter he exchanged for Alresford, in Hampshire. In 1633 he proceeded D. D. and in 1638, became rector of South Warnborough, Hampshire, by exchange with Mr. Atkinson, of St. John's College, for Islip, in Oxfordshire. In 1640 he was chosen clerk of the convocation for Westminster, and in 1642 followed the king to Oxford. After the death of Charles, he lost all his property, and removing with his family from place to place, subsisted by the exercise of his pen till the Restoration, when he regained his livings, and was made sub-dean of Westminster. His constancy and exertions were supposed by many to merit a higher reward, from a government, in whose defence he had sacrificed every prospect; but the warmth of his temper, and his violence in dispute, were such as rendered his promotion to a higher dignity in the church impolitic in the opinion of the ministers. He died May 8, 1662, and was interred in Westminster-abbey, under his own stall. A list of his numerous publications, as well as a character of him, may be found in Wood's Athenae Oxonienses, ii. 275.

No. IX.


[See Kennet's Register, folio, Lond. 1723, page 713.]



"By the great favour of my lord chancellor's reprehension, I came to understand how long a time I have suffered in my reputation with my superiors by your misunderstanding me, and misinforming others; as if when I was to preach before the king, I had scornfully refused the tippet as a toy; when, as the Searcher and Judge of Hearts doth know, that I had no such thought or word. I was so ignorant in those matters as to think that a tippet had been a proper ensign of a doctor of divinity, and I verily thought that you offered it me as such: and I had so much pride as to be somewhat ashamed when you offered it me, that I must tell you my want of such degrees; and therefore gave you no answer to your first offer, but to your second was forced to say, "It belongeth not to me, Sir." And I said not to you any more; nor had any other thought in my heart than with some shame to tell you that I had no degrees, imagining I should have offended others, and made myself the laughter or scorn of many, if I should have used that which did not belong to me. For I must profess that I had no more scruple to wear a tippet than a gown, or any comely garment. Sir, though this be one of the smallest of all the mistakes which of late have turned to my wrong, and I must confess that my ignorance gave you the occasion, and I am far from imputing it to any ill will in you, having frequently heard, that in charity, and gentleness, and peaceableness of mind you are very eminent; yet because I must not contemn my estimation with my superiors, I humbly crave that favour and justice of you, (which I am confident you will readily grant me,) as to acquaint those with the truth of this business, whom, upon mistake, you have misinformed, whereby in relieving the innocence of your brother, you will do a work of charity and justice, and therefore not displeasing unto God, and will much oblige,

Sir, Your humble servant, RICHARD BAXTER. June 20, 1662.

P. S. I have the more need of your justice in this case, because my distance denieth me access to those that have received these misreports, and because any public vindication of myself, whatever is said of me, is taken as an unsufferable crime, and therefore I am utterly incapable of vindicating my innocency, or remedying their mistakes.

"To the reverend and much honoured Dr. Earles, Dean of Westminster, &c. These."


Hampton-Court, June 23.


[Sidenote: O that they were all such.—Note by Mr. Baxter.]

"I received your letter, which I would have answered sooner, if the messenger that brought it had returned. I must confess I was a little surprized with the beginning of it, as I was with your name; but when I read further I ceased to be so. Sir, I should be heartily sorry and ashamed to be guilty of any thing like malignity or uncharitableness, especially to one of your condition, with whom, though I concur not perhaps in point of judgment in some particulars, yet I cannot but esteem for your personal worth and abilities; and, indeed, your expressions in your letter are so civil and ingenuous, that I am obliged thereby the more to give you all the satisfaction I can.

[Sidenote: These words I heard not, being in the passage from him.—Note by Mr. Baxter.]

As I remember, then, when you came to me to the closet, and I told you I would furnish you with a tippet, you answered me something to that purpose as you write, but whether the same numerical words, or but once, I cannot possibly say from my own memory, and therefore I believe yours. Only this I am sure of, that I said to you at my second speaking, that some others of your persuasion had not scrupled at it, which might suppose (if you had not affirmed the contrary), that you had made me a formal refusal; of which giving me then no other reason than that "it belonged not to you," I concluded that you were more scrupulous than others were. And, perhaps, the manner of your refusing it (as it appeared to me) might make me think you were not very well pleased with the motion. And this it is likely I might say, either to my lord chancellor or others; though seriously I do not remember that I spake to my lord chancellor at all concerning it. But, sir, since you give me now that modest reason for it, (which, by the way, is no just reason in itself, for a tippet may be worn without a degree, though a hood cannot; and it is no shame at all to want these formalities for him that wanteth not the substance,) but, sir, I say, since you give that reason for your refusal, I believe you, and shall correct that mistake in myself, and endeavour to rectify it in others, if any, upon this occasion, have misunderstood you. In the mean time I shall desire your charitable opinion of myself, which I shall be willing to deserve upon any opportunity that is offered me to do you service, being, sir,

Your very humble servant,


"To my honoured friend, Mr. Richard Baxter, These."

No. X.



[From Le Neve's Monumenta Anglicana[BT]. 8vo. Lond. 1718. vol. iii. p. 182.]

Stay, reader, and observe Death's partial doom, A spreading virtue in a narrow tombe; A generous mind, mingled with common dust, Like burnish'd steel, cover'd, and left to rust. Dark in the earth he lyes, in whom did shine All the divided merits of his line. The lustre of his name seems faded here, No fairer star in all that fruitful sphere. In piety and parts extreamly bright, Clear was his youth, and fill'd with growing light, A morn that promis'd much, yet saw no noon; None ever rose so fast, and set so soon. All lines of worth were centered here in one, Yet see, he lies in shades whose life had none. But while the mother this sad structure rears,} A double dissolution there appears—} He into dust dissolves, she into tears.}

RICHARDUS EARLE[BU], Barn^{tus}. Obijt decimo tertio die Aug^{ti} Anno Dom. 1697. AEtatis suae 24.


[BT] Two other epitaphs appear in this collection, on the Earles of Norfolk, with whom I cannot find our author to have had the least connection. A full account of this family may be seen in Blomefield's History of Norfolk, vol. iii. p. 531.

[BU] The title was created by Charles the First, July 2, 1629, and, I believe, became extinct at the decease of this person.

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